Chef Elliott Moss (former chef of The Admiral) has left Ben’s Tune-Up, the restaurant he opened in June with three partners, he told Xpress.
“As a business decision, I’ve decided to pull myself from Ben’s Tune-Up,” he says. “I’ve got to focus on opening a barbecue restaurant.”
Jake Whitman, sous chef at Ben’s Tune-Up, will lead the kitchen, says Jonathon Robinson, who co-owns the restaurant with Meg Alt and Molly Clark.
“We always planned to have a more playful menu,” Robinson says. “We’re going to have some more signature dishes. We always planned on having a menu that didn’t look like a Japanese restaurant.”
The current menu offers Japanese pub fare typically found in izakayas. It includes small plates of yakitori, pickles and sashimi as well as larger portions of ramen and other noodle dishes.
Moss has been a major player in Asheville’s culinary scene for the last couple of years. This year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast.
From 2007 until earlier this year, he was the chef at The Admiral. He left to focus on Ben’s Tune-Up and a barbecue concept in South Slope (the details of that restaurant are still in flux, he says).
Moss says he learned a lot about food while at Ben’s Tune-Up, and adds that he always planned to step back from the kitchen there once the barbecue restaurant was closer to completion. “I’m taking away from there a sense of fermentation that I didn’t have,” he says. “[The barbecue restaurant] has evolved. I’ve had more time to develop the menu and ideas. It’s going to be more of a modernist approach.”
What’s next for Moss? He’ll remain in Asheville and continue developing the barbecue restaurant. In the meantime, he plans to help out at other restaurants around town.
“I’ve got plans,” he says. “I’m going to be cooking until whatever happens, happens.”
Pictured: Elliott Moss, Meg Alt and Jonathan Robinson. Photo by Max Cooper